Orientalism By The Herald; Not Helping

Published here at The Daily Blog

Things that aren’t helping women – racist reporting and orientalism. Things that are helping women – connecting the dots and demanding adequate funding and support.

Today I posted about the fact that two migrant women were murdered in Wellington last month yet the government has failed to support specialised violence services for migrant women – despite the urgent need.

Yet the Herald, which ignored the press release by Shakti about their dire lack of funding, instead picked up two other stories:

One was regarding Tony Veitch’s tale of woe; Note to self Tony – feeling sorry for yourself is not contrition. The second was an example of racist reporting regarding the of domestic violence suffered by a Muslim woman.

Instead of discussing how isolated migrant women of colour can be due to racism and gender oppression and that they have the need for specialised support services, they essentially blamed “burkas” and the Muslim community – seemingly, the entire Muslim community – for the violence she suffered.

New Zealand Herald, that wasn’t good enough. Please talk about the statistics. Only 54% of Aucklanders identify as European, 23% of Aucklanders are of Asian origin, and roughly 12% of our entire population are Asian, Middle Eastern or African. So why are the needs of non-Europeans being sensationalised, trivialised and ultimately ignored?

While news media infer that Muslim culture and dress are fundamentally oppressive (when domestic violence is significant across all cultures) they’re failing to realise that what is really oppressive is the intense focus on choices of clothing and religion instead of ensuring people have uniform access to appropriate protection and support.

Domestic violence is an issue for everyone and some women have the need for specialised services that are virtually non-existent. People – especially women – are getting raped, beaten and murdered on a routine basis out there, yet it seems like everyone is looking in the wrong direction to either assign blame to survivors – or entire cultures – ignoring the fact that there is barely any publicly-funded support.

Where is the damn funding?

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